After the toughest Badminton cross-country course in years, Bramham was vital for British riders to prove their case for a World Equestrian Games (WEG) call-up. But the race for selection is still wide open.
The announcement of the squad — consisting of 4 team members and 2 individuals — will be made after Luhmühlen this weekend (12-15 June). Former team stalwarts Imperial Cavalier, Opposition Buzz and Miners Frolic have all retired from top-level competition, creating fresh opportunities for places.
“I am sure you will see some different horses and some different riders as well,” said Yogi Breisner, eventing performance manager.
H&H eventing editor Pippa Roome added: “Selection this year is wider open than I’ve known it in a decade.
“There has rarely been more than 1 surprise in a British squad in recent years, but I feel like this year there could be several.
“WEG is likely to be such a different competition to Badminton that it’ll be interesting to see how much weight selectors give to those results.”
William has enough horse power to field a team on his own but, after winning the CIC3* at Bramham, Chilli Morning is expected to be his ride. Kentucky winner Bay My Hero is less experienced but useful back-up, while Cool Mountain heads to Luhmühlen to make his bid.
Harry could complete his dream comeback after shattering both elbows last August by getting his first senior team championship call-up. Wild Lone, who has not competed since his third place at Badminton, has a formidable cross-country record — he has not had a jumping penalty since 2009.
The quirky chestnut Armada is in the running after finishing second at Badminton. Oliver might also have another chance with Black Tie, who was withdrawn after the dressage at Bramham but now heads for Luhmühlen.
The Olympic silver medallist’s hopes for selection are pinned on her home-bred De Novo News, who finished ninth at Burghley last year. They finished 26th at Badminton after an early run-out cross-country and 3 down showjumping.
The new mother has made a consistent comeback to competition with her Olympic partner High Kingdom. The duo finished 12th in the CIC3* at Bramham, after having 2 down showjumping.
Izzy is a strong favourite for selection after winning Tattersalls CCI3* with Allercombe Ellie and finishing second at Bramham CCI3* with Orlando. She was also the only rider to complete Badminton on two horses — KBIS Briarlands Matilda (17th) and Thistledown Poposki (18th).
Gemma, who was eliminated for jumping the wrong side of a flag at the final element of Huntsman’s Close at Badminton, strengthened her chances by finishing fifth in the CIC3* at Bramham with Arctic Soul.
Pippa’s strong performance with Billy Beware at Badminton to finish sixth could be enough to see the first horse from the Billy Stud selected to represent Britain in eventing.
This article was first published in Horse & Hound on 12 June 2014